Printing paper.

Unit 33 lens based image making critieria P 2,3

Unit 23 – Photographic Media, Techniques and Technology criteria P1, P3

During my search for paper types for this and other projects I have mainly used gloss and lustre but there are many many types of paper. Rag, pearl, baryta and William Turner fine art papers to name but a few and and many come in a variety of textures.

I have yet to use some of the more niche and art papers and fine art media but during the next term I will be experimenting with those so below are detailed the types I looked at for this project. I discounted matte and metallic as the images weren’t suitable but I printed my images on both gloss and lustre and have still yet to decide which I will present.

In most photo printing, either the local print shop or a professional printing service, printing often comes with a variety of finishes to choose from. Having some idea about how these finishes work is always helpful to determine the kind of final outcome that you wish your photo to look like. They affect the overall photo surface, texture, vividness of color, contrast and types of photography.

Below, I have listed 4 types of finishes (glossy, matte, lustre and metallic) that are commonly used in photo printing industry.

Glossy Finish

Coated paper with very smooth, shiny surface and results in a reflective appearance. The end result of the photo often looks vibrant in color, crisp and sharp. Produces brighter color and offers more saturation. It does not produce a textured look when scanned or converted into digital format. However the photo surface is likely to stick to glass when framed. It is also highly susceptible to fingerprints and smudges if hand-held without a glove. It is possible to remove marks with a photo cloth or liquid solution, but it still can leave some scratches. Glossy finish is a good choice for printing everyday snapshots and photos with vibrant colors.

Matte Finish

Photos with a matte finish are always smooth and have no glare on the surface. Lower contrast but an enhanced texture print. Fingerprints are not as visible. This style works very well especially for black and white photography which produces a classic look. In most cases, it is often used by professionals and is capable of producing a high quality professional look. Matte finish is also a good choice for framing and suitable for portrait, wedding and baby photos. It comes with different grades and is harder to scratch. However, the texture on a matte finish can make the photo look grainy and may produce a visible texture if scanned or converted to digital format.

Lustre Finish

A photo with a lustre finish comes with slight gloss with a subtle and pearl like texture. It offers a deeper color saturation than matte finish, higher in contrast and thicker papers. Fingerprints are not as visible, anti glare, looks professional with high quality paper and best for framing on the wall. It also captures the best qualities from glossy and matte by combining them into one beautiful finish.

Metallic Finish

Extremely durable and produces an almost chrome-like burnished appearance. Glossy finish with a Striking, distinctive metallic eye-catching look, increased color gamut for a rich impact and exceptional sharpness. Images printed with metallic tend to ‘pop’ and appears to be printed on metal.


Source Paul Chong

One thought on “Printing paper.

  1. Pingback: Paper Choice and a stroke of luck – Lee Tilley Photography

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